I love finding brand new cozy mystery book series. Starting with book one isn’t always possible when a series has been around awhile. But, Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliot is Book One in the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series. Yay for a new series and starting with the first book!
Thanks to NetGalley for providing this book for review. As always, my opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Murder by the Book
by Lauren Elliot
Published by Kensington Books
Addie Greyborne loved working with rare books at the Boston Public Library—she even got to play detective, tracking down clues about mysterious old volumes. But she didn’t expect her sleuthing skills to come in so handy in a little seaside town . . .
Addie left some painful memories behind in the big city, including the unsolved murder of her fiancé and her father’s fatal car accident. After an unexpected inheritance from a great aunt, she’s moved to a small New England town founded by her ancestors back in colonial times—and living in spacious Greyborne Manor, on a hilltop overlooking the harbor. Best of all, her aunt also left her countless first editions and other treasures—providing an inventory to start her own store.
But there’s trouble from day one, and not just from the grumpy woman who runs the bakery next door. A car nearly runs Addie down. Someone steals a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Then, Addie’s friend Serena, who owns a nearby tea shop, is arrested—for killing another local merchant. The police seem pretty sure they’ve got the story in hand, but Addie’s not going to let them close the book on this case without a fight.
My Review of Murder by the Book
How would you feel if you inherited a house from a relative you barely knew, left everything familiar, took a risk on starting a new business, and then found out 90% of the town didn’t want you there? In fact, you just about get run over by a car the first day you open! That’s how poor Addie Greyborne starts out. Oh, and her house AND business get broken into! She wonders if it has anything to do with her fiance’s murder or her father’s death. Then again, someone could be after a rare book from her bookstore. It’s more questions than answers for Addie, and she feels alone in this new town where no one seems welcoming.
Thankfully, she meets Serena, and the two become fast friends. Addie feels like she has someone she can confide in, but then Serena is arrested for murder. Though they’ve only known each other for a short time, Addie is sure Serena couldn’t be guilty. Coincidentally, the chief of police is Serena’s brother Marc, who, of course, doesn’t think his sister is guilty either. And, of course, he becomes Addie’s love interest. I wasn’t crazy about this fact. I think it was too rushed. Sure they could be attracted to each other, but I think solid friendship among Serena, Addie, Marc and Paige (whom you’ll meet in a minute) would have been more believable than a romance right away.
Paige is the daughter of that grumpy bakery owner (from the description). She comes to Addie looking for work when Addie decides she needs to hire someone because she’s not at her shop enough to keep normal hours. Serena thinks Paige is in cahoots with her grumpy mother, but in reality, she doesn’t get along with her mother at all. I’m looking forward to more of Paige in the books.
Marc and Addie end up solving the murder and break-in mysteries together. They also discover that, indeed, Addie’s father’s death wasn’t an accident. There is intrigue in the book, and it did keep me guessing. The characters were definitely well developed, but I’m hoping the further books bring a bit more world building. Greyborne Harbor seems like a great place to live, and I want to hear all about it.
All in all, Murder by the Book is a good start to this new cozy mystery series.
About the author of Murder by the Book
Lauren Elliot grew up devouring the entire Nancy Drew series and then graduated to Victoria Holt, Agatha Christie, Barbara Erskine, Lynn Kurland, and Michael Crichton to name a few of her favorite authors. When it came time for post-secondary education, journalism seemed like the logical choice as she had written for as long as she could remember. Soon after graduation, while working for a small publication, she discovered that reporting wasn’t what fueled her writing passions. As someone with an additionally strong background in professional theater who had the love of storytelling and captivating and holding an audience, her fiction-writing career began to take center stage.
Lauren Elliott’s new Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series promises to keep readers guessing right up until the last chapter. Plot twists and an array of colorful characters make for page turning, whodunit adventures filled with suspense, mystery, murder and just a touch of romance.